Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday Salon: Trick or treat and a book or two

Is everyone in a sugar coma today? I surely am, having convinced my children to toss the candy they don't love into a "shared" candy bowl. Amazing the things they don't like that I do. Of course, I suspect that I'm not going to see even one peanut butter cup unless I steal one but there should be enough other stuff to keep me busy for a while, and to necessitate more exercise than I prefer to do.

In addition to the candy thing, Halloween seems to me to be filled with rites of passage in childhood. We faced one down this year and will likely face it down again next year. W. decided early on that he was going to stay home and hand out candy. No one ever told him 12 was too old to trick or treat but he seemed to have come to that conclusion himself. And so I didn't push it. But I can't explain to you how happy I was to see him join us at a neighborhood gathering wearing his Packers jersey and cheesehead from whence he headed out to trick or treat, perhaps for the last time. Who knew that Halloween was a time to see just how close to tumbling over the line from childhood to adolescence your child is?

As W. debated whether to join in the dressing up and reveling in childhood, R. firmly took charge of her own trick or treat experience, throwing together a last minute costume that she probably shouldn't have been let out of the house wearing. An old dance costume from two years ago, now outgrown and much too revealing, had me thinking back to the small girl in the homemade ladybug costume almost 10 years ago. The antenna and the bug belly have been replaced by the long legs and fake clip-on hair of the 11 year old. And so Halloween also makes too clear the passage of time.

Thank goodness there is still T., a little boy for a little longer. His costume was simply a cloak ("It's a robe, mom," said with the attendant eye roll of a child with older siblings). There was no effort on my part in this get-up but he is firmly convinced that it was a cool costume that would be immediately identifiable as a dark sorcerer. I can assure you it was not immediately obvious but ah, the invincibility of childhood imaginations! And he's still young enough to generously share his candy, although asking for stuff he really likes is getting dodgier and dodgier. Halloween provides a snapshot of just where he is on the childhood spectrum. It provides that for all of my children. And just as the falling leaves signal the change of seasons, so the favorite holiday of childhood signals its own changes.

Unlike many, I do not tailor my reading to the season. I am not interested in being frightened. Suspenseful and thrilling are not adjectives I generally enjoy seeing as a description on my potential reads. The supernatural scares me, perhaps not in the light of day, but deep in the depths of dark night when my own imagination can't shut down or block out, it gets under my skin and terrifies me. And so I don't have a Halloween list to share. In looking back at my October reads, I see no difference in what I've read in other months. Perhaps I read a bit more than usual (not having to worry about any costumes really freed up some creative time) but not because I was up late at night afraid to turn out the lights.

A quick breakdown: I read 23 books. I have posted reviews on 3 of them but have actually written reviews on 5 more of them. All of them will eventually be reviewed. I read 12 non-fiction and 11 fiction books. 13 of the books were sent to me from authors, publishers, or publicists while 10 of them came from my own purchased stash. This week in particular I moved to Japan with a newly married woman who had trouble adjusting to culture shock, watched the intrigue and romance between a part faery Englishman and the Highland Scots gentlewoman determined to win her baby son's castle back for him, awoke to the splendors and history of Antarctica as I traveled the great frozen continent with an author, was privy to the thoughts and actions of a man trying to protect his son from his best friend's daughter even if the price of protection was alienation from everyone he held dear, and explored the language capabilities and mental processes of an extraordinary African Grey and the scientist who loved and believed in him.

And so we move on into November, the month when we are reminded to be thankful for all of our blessings. I already know that I am thankful for my children, who they have been, as Halloween so clearly showed me, and who they are still in the process of becoming. And I am thankful for the escape and joy that books continue to offer me daily. Here's to being thankful for the "next thing."


  1. I don't tailor my reading to any season. I ended up finishing "Living Dead in Dallas" right before Halloween, but that was by chance -- I'd been waiting in a library queue for a month for that book and it just happened to be available at this time.

  2. I avoided too much candy but made up for that with sweet coffee drinks. Here's what I've been eating and drinking and reading this past week: Sunday Salon

  3. With the week we had, we didn't spend any time preparing costumes. Both boys wore something we had on hand and didn't even realize that wasn't what you're supposed to do. It helps that we have a ton of dressup stuff anyway.


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